Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spanish Judiciary Proposes Suspending Judge for Drafting Catalan Constitution

Spain's General Council of the Judiciary has proposed the full suspension of Judge Santiago Vidal for having participated in the elaboration of a draft constitution for Catalonia. The Barcelona District Court judge admitted that he had participated, along with a group of ten experts. Mr Vidal says that he does not believe he has done anything wrong in stating his opinion in his free time when not at work. “So they're beginning to look for scapegoats? I'm sorry I'm one.”

The so-called Promoter of Disciplinary Action of the General Council of the Judiciary, Supreme Court judge Antonio Jesús Fonseca-Herrero, has begun disciplinary proceedings for Judge Vidal and has proposed the disciplinary commission apply preliminary suspension from his duties. He considers Mr Vidal should be suspended for “inexcusably ignoring compliance with his judicial duties and breaching required observation of incompatibilities”, described as very serious in Article 417.14 of the Law of the Judiciary.

In an interview in April, Mr Vidal said he did not think there would be any reprisals: "What law prohibits a group of experts engaging in deliberating on anything? There is nothing illegal and the judges who make up the group are very clear on that. The Organic Law of the Judiciary sets very strict incompatibilities but states clearly that we can spend our time off on preparing technical reports."

Mr Vidal is also one of 33 judges who signed a manifesto in favour of the non-binding referendum in which they asserted it was constitutional. This also led to a complaint brought by far-right association Manos Limpias and another investigation by the General Council of the Judiciary.

Photo courtesy Singular TV

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